The air was thick with tension over what had been unfolding day after day after day. They were desperate for a rescuer and even the man ruling over them seemed without answers and without courage. They weren’t enough and they knew it. Or at least, that’s what they had been told.
“Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, ‘Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Chose a man and have him come down to me.’” — 1 Samuel 17:8
And day after day after day no one stepped forward. He had spoken words that were true, they were servants of Saul. Saul wasn’t doing anything — the king was just as anxious as the rest of them. Offering rewards to someone who might actually be braver than he for facing this giant! This mammoth of a man wasn’t backing down, he wasn’t going away. And he, in all of his might, was a Philistine, their opposition. The impending doom of their freedom only added to the anxiety felt by every man there in that valley. Except for one.
“David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied… all those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” — 1 Samuel 17:45,47
I believe this same scenario presents itself in our lives all the time. Because we have an enemy that threatens us, and acts to steal, kill, and destroy moments when we might actually give glory to God by shouting accusations and distractions. And some of the most devious lies are ones that are laced with truth. The Israelites were servants of Saul. And in in this moment that seemed like a weak identity statement. It crippled their resolve and broke their strength because it diverted their attention from the truth that trumped all other identity statements. They were children of God. They were not just servants of Saul, they were part of the armies of Israel whom God had claimed. David knew it, and he proclaimed it for all to hear, both the armies of Israel and the Philistines who opposed them. He spoke clarity into the confusion, and he advanced into the place where God had called him to be.
I think we are meant to bear witness to God’s might. I think we are asked to participate in his plan. And often times, when our enemy strikes at us, it is in the form of truth laced lies that confuse our identity statements and render us uncertain of what we are called into.
“Oh, but I am just a student — who am I to make change?”
“But I have such a messy past — who am I to speak?”
“You don’t understand, I am sick, how could I make an impact anywhere?”
“I’m just the grandparent, I don’t have the influence I need to disciple this child.”
Gideon was shocked when the Angel greeted him as a mighty warrior, but he became one of Israel’s great judges. Abraham wasn’t just an old man without children, God was going to make him the father from whom a nation would come. Mary wasn’t just a teenager, she would be the mother of Jesus. Moses wasn’t just an Egyptian murderer, a runaway, and a shepherd, he would lead a nation out of Egypt.
Who are you? Be careful when you limit your identity to where you think you have fallen short or as something that bears no strength — because you are a child of a living God who delights in evidencing himself in broken, small, seemingly insignificant people. Like David, be willing to silence your enemy by speaking truth, those who are bearing witness to your life will thank you for it. Take courage and know to whom you belong.